In the Dark Night of the Soul It's Always 3:30 in the Morning is the series premiere of The Morning Show.
America's favorite morning news show is thrown into crisis when it becomes the news.
New York City, 2:58 AM
At 3 AM, Mitch Kessler is woken up by a call from Chip. He answers and tells him someone better be dead. He is shocked by what he's told.
Elsewhere, Alex Levy shuts off her 3:30 alarm. She has three missed calls from Chip as well as a text message urging her to call him back ASAP.
She makes some coffee while drinking a RedBull. After a session on the treadmill, she retreats to the bathroom to get herself ready. Afterwards, she grabs some stuff from around her living room for her bag and leaves through the elevator.
While being driven, she is briefed about her day and week by Greg and Sean. She ignores another call from Chip. The car drives past a huge poster featuring her and Mitch, co-anchors of The Morning Show.
As the car pulls up at the UBA building, she sees Chip waiting for her. She asks him who died.
West Virginia, 5:25 AM
Bradley Jackson and her team are driving towards a coal-fired power plant for a story. She is convinced they won't invest in carbon capture without linkage. Alan tells her they are not having the linkage debate again. It's about the protest and how the town is divided. Bradley wants to slip in how safe carbon capture is. Alan wants to play safe. This job is a stepping stone for him. Joe then reads from his phone that Mitch Kessler got fired from The Morning Show. Bradley comments it's one less idiot to feed soft news to the masses.
The Morning Show's crew is watching a report on Mitch's firing over sexual misconduct, which details his career and several awards, including some for The Morning Show. The New York Times was tipped off yesterday about an internal investigation by UBA into Mitch's misconduct. Up until this, TMS was the only morning show that had dodged any #MeToo scandals that plagued its competitors.
Isabella asks Sean and Greg if Alex knows. Greg confirms that she does. They are reworking the entire show.
Chip walks with Alex and informs her they had no choice as there were multiple complaints. That's all he knows. They don't know who leaked this. He lets slip that he's been trying to deal with this quietly. He admits HR has been looking into it for a few weeks. Chip didn't want to drag Alex into this. She closes the door of his office and yells at him for keeping her in the dark. He reminds her she asked him to respect her space. Alex says her TV husband is a sexual predator now so it definitely concerns her. You can't buy chemistry.
Daniel Henderson and Yanko Flores are outside of Chip's office. The latter's assistant, Rena, is flooded with phone calls and tells the two men that Chip is in there with Alex and didn't want to be disturbed. A call from the network forces her to disturb them herself, though. Alex instructs her to put them through and puts Fred and Cory from UBA on speaker. They're in Hollywood. Cory tells them he is sorry. It feels like the Mitch he knew died. Fred offers his condolences to Alex. The men say sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Alex wants to focus on what they'll do with the show, which starts in less than 2 hours. Cory tells her one man's tragedy can be another's opportunity. Cory goes on to say that they can use this to reinvent themselves. Fred cuts him off and tells Alex that she will get them through this. Alex mutes them and tells Cory this must be why they have been dragging their feet on her renegotiations. Her instinct is to deliver the news personally. They will grieve with the audience. If they use this right, they can get their audience back. May sweeps are imminent, as they all know. They can discuss a replacement for Mitch later but she wants to address America by herself. Fred concedes.
While getting makeup done in her dressing room, Alex tells Greg she can't feel anything. Greg tells her she'll find herself out there like she always does. There's an incoming call from Mitch. She declines it and slams her phone into a drawer. She needs a minute.
Bradley and her crew arrive at the protest. Alan tells her she's awful. She doesn't push back, she incinerates and fights everyone on everything. She says there's a lot of sloppy work around her, including his. He informs her Sarah is getting the late hour anchor job. While she has been at the channel three years less than Bradley, people like her. Alan advises her to be agreeable for a change.
In the middle of the protest, Bradley is called by her mother. She just wanted to let her know that she brought her brother Hal home. Bradley is not amused and says they'll talk later. Bradley makes her way back to her crew. Alan presents her Jenna Macantire, who's protesting the mines, and Bob Stephens, whose family has been in the mining business for generations. Bradley positions herself between them when suddenly Joe is knocked down by a protester. Bradley then gets in a fight with the guy, who calls her a "fake news bitch." She grabs him and challenges him to tell her five facts about coal; if not, she'll have him arrested for assault. She knows he's just here to raise some hell. She loses it and screams at him about how it's all just a big wheel with sanctions being added and removed again. Politicians keep fighting because all they want to do is hear themselves talk and win. There is human cost and it's exhausting. She screams she's exhausted. She pushes the guy away and calms down. She then resumes her position for the report.
Isabella lets Greg know that it's time for the show. Alex leaves her dressing room and walks to set while going over her statement. She declines a revised copy. She sits down behind the desk while some crew work on her last looks. Mere seconds later, the show starts.
Alex greets the audience and says she has some sad and upsetting news. Mitch Kessler, her partner of 15 years was fired for sexual misconduct. She offers support and sympathy to the women. They are devastated that it happened on their watch.
She tells the viewers she knows how they are feeling because she and the whole team at the show are feeling. Mitch is watching the show at home. Alex says they all feel shock, disappointment, and disbelief. Mitch hates how she is throwing him under the bus. Alex says while she doesn't know the details of the allegations, she knows they were severe enough to justify the firing. Alex goes on to say Mitch was part of the family. Mitch's wife Paige watches from a distance.
Alex says there are consequences and as a woman, she knows there aren't enough of them. She will miss the Mitch she thought she knew with all of her heart but she is proud to work on a network and live in a country that upholds consequences.
In West Virginia, Bradley calls the report a load of bullshit.
Alex asks the viewers to have patience with them while they find their footing in the next few days.
Fred and Cory are also watching. Cory comments Alex is on fire today. Crises turn her lights on. Alex promises the viewers they are part of this family and they will get through this together.
Alex takes a moment to gather herself during the commercials. She declines tissues from Isabella.
Bradley arrives back at the SENN offices. She gets a notification from Twitter and finds that someone filmed her at the protest. She's gone viral. Her boss comes up and brings up everyone talking about Mitch and Bradley losing her shit. She defends herself by saying she was telling the truth to that guy. That's why she became a journalist. Noah reminds her he gave her a shot when no one else would because of "Two-Fucks Jackson." She says that was ten years ago. She accidentally said "fuck", got mad and said it again. On live TV, he adds. She tells him to find someone else to cover the world's heartaches and not have any feelings about it. She quits.
Alex and Yanko are interviewing a PTSD expert who says being harassed early on in your career can lead to long-term psychological damage. Yanko asks about specific harassment that could cause that damage, making both Alex and Chip roll their eyes. Yanko is clearly uncomfortable.
Backstage, Claire Conway turns away from the awkward interview and focuses on the video of Bradley screaming at the protester. She beckons Hannah Shoenfeld, who was looking for stories about strong women for tomorrow, and shows her the video. Claire thinks she's funny but she also resonates some truth.
Mitch and his team are going over options. He refuses to let them take his life away over hearsay. Some guy points out they have documented complaints. Mitch says affairs are not illegal. He gave 20 years of his life to that network and they won't even engage in conversation with him. He can't keep calm. He yells he didn't rape anybody. He fucked some PA's and assistants but they liked it (one even told him that he taught her "how to have good sex"!). Since the dawn of time, men have used their power to attract women. That's not on him and he shouldn't be faulted for it. He swears it was all consensual. Heck, most of the women even came on to HIM. And now this stupid comedy weather fuck is in his seat! He tries to pull the TV off the wall and then smashes the tv with a fire iron. Afterward, he calms down and says they'll come up with a plan to fight this. Paige then comes up. She's picking up the kids from school and taking them to the Hamptons. She's divorcing him.
Chip drops by Alex's dressing room. He tells her she did great. Yanko was just a bad call from Cory. She says they better have their shit together when the network execs arrive today. She refuses to let Cory, fresh from the entertainment division, make the decision about who sits next to her because it'll be her who has to carry their ass. She wants to be kept in the loop about every person they are considering. She blames Chip for letting the show slip on his watch. He says he can't control everything but she thinks it's his job.
Cory gets mobbed by reporters as he arrives at UBA. He says as long as he's president of news at UBA, behavior such as Mitch's will not be tolerated. Out of respect for the victims, he won't make any further comment
Chip asks Rena to call PR to see how their response is landing. He needs all senior staff in his office to figure out what they do next. As they walk, Hannah says she has to leave and asks if Chip can survive without her. He says yes, but to text him as soon as she knows. Chip says they need to prepare their long-term strategy. He's started when Cory comes in behind him. Cory is there to make sure everything is taken care of.
Alex is in a meeting with her team. They're focusing on her since everything else is focused on the network. People are going to want to know what she knew. Trisha Marino say she needs to make a follow-up statement as her first one was too sympathetic toward Mitch. Alex defends what she said, saying it's the truth. Sarah Gravele says it's about opportunity. It could be good for them as they're in the middle of a tough negotiation. Now they need to practice her response. Sean calls Alex's attention to Lizzy, who in the kitchen behind them. Alex hugs her and says she didn't have to leave school to see her. She's actually in town because her class came to see a play. She's upset about Mitch because she's known him her whole life. She asks Lizzy to skip the play and stay home with her to cheer her up. They're interrupted by Jason, Alex's husband, arriving. He expresses his condolences. He was texting her all day, but she was having the worst day of her life. She's exhausted and she has a bunch of people. Jason was going to take Lizzy and her friends to dinner, but he can stay. Alex tells him to go. She wants them to live their lives. Once they're gone, she pours herself a glass of vodka and drinks it in one sip.
Bradley arrives at her mother's house. Her mom, Sandy, says she's just in time for dinner. Bradley turns off the music and tells her mother that Hal is bipolar and an addict. He needs to be in treatment, not at her house. Hal admits that he's an addict, but he was only in treatment for two weeks. It took a lot for Bradley to get him into that rehab and she spent a lot of money on it. She's made a lot of decisions in her life to take care of him. She's lost relationships and jobs because of him. Sandy yells that she's ruining dinner.
Bradley answers the door to find Hannah there. Hannah introduces herself and says they want to interview her. She has a flight booked in 90 minutes. Alex will interview Bradley about her video. The video resonated with people and they want more. Bradley asks how they found her at her mom's house. Hannah says they're The Morning Show and they can do anything.
Daniel rants to Alison about his dissatisfaction with his job. He thinks he should get the co-anchor job and is angry that he's covering fluff instead of real news.
Chip and Cory are having dinner together. Chip says the hunt for Alex's replacement obviously needs to go on the back burner. Maybe this will revitalize her. He points to the day's broadcast of proof. Cory says she's been dull over the last five years, so maybe her heart's not in it. And since Mitch is out, they can find the new marriage for America to fall in love with. They can't afford to take any hits. They'll all be replaced by tech if they're not careful. People need an escape. Alex is Mitch's widow now and no one wants to watch that. They want to be titillated.
Bradley gets out of the car and looks up at a building before entering.
Alex watches a report about herself and Mitch.
Bradley enters her hotel room and goes out onto the balcony. She doesn't enjoy New York.
Back in her room, Bradley looks at clips of Mitch and Alex.
Alex gets a call from Mitch and ignores it. She drinks.
Bradley watches Alex interview Barack Obama.
Alex calls for a car to go in early.
Bradley falls asleep amongst her research on Alex.
Alex walks the halls of TMS in her robe and sunglasses. She goes to her dressing room, but hesitates for a moment and then goes into Mitch's room instead. There are pictures taped around his mirror and cigarettes on the table. She grabs one and lights it. She looks through his clothes and starts to cry.
Bradley sees an advertisement for The Morning Show with just Alex's picture.
Mia introduces herself to Bradley and welcomes her. Bradley's never been to TMS before, but all studios are about the same. Mia instrocues her to Anna, who is doing her makeup.
Alex brushes off her team as she watches the video of Bradley at the protest. She doesn't believe Bradley didn't know she was being filmed. Greg says real or not, people like it and that's the story. She just needs to get through the next few days and do something that will make America happy. Alex asks for some celery juice. Once she's alone, she starts to let out her frustration. She didn't buy the video at all.
Claire leads Bradley into the studio where she meets Alex. Bradley says she's sorry about Mitch, but Alex tells her she's fine. They're counted in and the broadcast begins. They play the clip on the show and Bradley flinches as it plays. Alex asks Bradley about the video, asking why she was so exhausted that day. Bradley explains what she was feeling in that moment. Alex asks her about her politics, but Bradley says she's only on the human side. Alex asks if Bradley would open or close the coal mine if she were president. Bradley says she just reports the news. Alex asks about the creed of never letting the story become about the reporter. Chip tells her to stop, but Bradley says she agrees, but didn't know she was being filmed. Alex says some people think it was set up. And now she's on The Morning Show because of it. Bradley says she thinks most people believe the news is changing because the people who have been delivering it have shown themselves to be untruthful. People want more transparency and want to know the person behind the facade. They want to know the person telling them the truth is an honest person. Like Alex. Alex says the truth is what they're all striving for. Alex thanks Bradley and prepares for commercial. Once they're clear, Alex says Bradley's good and wishes her luck.
Claire and Mia tell Bradley she did great as she leaves the stage. As she walks out, Cory watches her closely.
Alex has another drink.
In his own home, Mitch drinks as well. The press is still waiting outside, despite heavy rain. He hears his dog barking and goes for a gun. Then he goes downstairs and warns the intruder he has a gun. Alex tells him it's her. She had her car drop her in the woods behind his house. She's there to tell him how mad she is at him. He left her alone because he had to cheat on Paige instead of just getting a divorce. He tells her that's the pot calling the kettle black. He doesn't understand why she's mad at him. But that's not why she's mad. She's mad because he's selfish and she's going to lose everything because of it. Everything they had was built on chemistry and Mitch messed it up. Mitch says it was all consensual and thinks Alex is jealous. They had a thing. Alex says it was two times and it didn't mean that much to her. He stole her life and left her to the wolves. She gave up everything for the show and now she could lose everything and everyone. He is her partner of fifteen years. The only person who knew her life in detail. Now he can't even be her friend. Mitch says he didn't coerce anybody. He didn't do anything wrong. Alex sees the broken TV and he says they had a disagreement. Alex hugs Mitch and says she's sorry he's such an asshole. He's sorry, too. She needs to leave, but he doesn't want her to go. He doesn't want to be alone.She doesn't think it'll ever blow over. As they walk out into the rain, Mitch says they were going to replace her. YDA was nipping at their heels in the ratings and they wanted to make a change. Alex doesn't believe it. He begs her to stay, but she walks away.
Bradley leaves the hotel and answers her phone. It's Cory, asking to meet her for a drink to talk about her future. She asks if this is supposed to be her big break and he says that's up to her.
- Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy
- Reese Witherspoon as Bradley Jackson
- Billy Crudup as Cory Ellison
- Mark Duplass as Chip Black
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Hannah Shoenfeld
- Nestor Carbonell as Yanko Flores
- Karen Pittman as Mia Jordan
- Bel Powley as Claire Conway
- Desean K. Terry as Daniel Henderson
- Jack Davenport as Jason Craig
- Steve Carell as Mitch Kessler
- Joe Tippett as Hal Jackson
- Embeth Davidtz as Paige Kessler
- Oona Roche as Lizzy
- Ian Gomez as Greg
- Victoria Tate as Rena
- Augustus Prew as Sean
- Hannah Leder as Isabella
- Shari Belafonte as Julia
- Joe Marinelli as Donny
- Amber Friendly as Layla
- Andrea Bendewald as Valerie
- Katherine Ko as Dhillon
- Eli Bildner as Joel
- Michelle Meredith as Lindsey
- David Magidoff as Nicky
- Adina Porter as Sarah
- Fred Melamed as Mitch's Agent
- Hank Northrop as Unruly Protestor
- Andrew Leeds as Alan
- John Marshall Jones as Noah
- Allan Graf as Joe
- Jake Broder as Nate
- JD Hinton as Bob Stephens
- Nancy Stone as Jenna Macantire
- Briana Henry as Alyssa
- Deborah Geffner as Crisis Specialist
- Paul Witten as Austin
- Jacqueline Mazarella as Trisha Marino
- Nanrisa Lee as Local Reporter 1
- Roman Mitichyan as Sam
Notes and Trivia
A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.
|The Morning Show Season 1|
|#01||"In the Dark Night of the Soul It's Always 3:30 in the Morning"||#06||"The Pendulum Swings"|
|#02||"A Seat at the Table"||#07||"Open Waters"|
|#03||"Chaos Is the New Cocaine"||#08||"Lonely at the Top"|
|#04||"That Woman"||#09||"Play the Queen"|
|#05||"No One's Gonna Harm You, Not While I'm Around"||#10||"The Interview"|
|Season 2 >>|